Friday, September 29, 2006

Spoiled Again!

7AM class today: me, Andy, Danny, and Sensei. These AM classes are the best kept secret, a rare treasure to work with people who have given their life to the art.

The last two AM classes have been aerobically easy (difficult for the knees at times, which aren't doing too badly), as we are focusing on ki concepts. The idea behind aiki--blending, is that we find the path of least resistance, moving around uke's center. Basic hand work, then moving to tenchinage.

The other thing that happens that we don't usually acknowledge is the subtle energy of training, the mental and subconcious impressions exchanged between one another.
This has its own value.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Last Friday's AM class is now meeting at Chapel Hill Tae Kwon Do. It was sensei, Jim, Andy, Charlie, and me. CH TKD is a pretty large place, so we created a "mini-dojo" in a corner of the room. Sensei discussed how this was meant to contain our energy, since large spaces can act to dissipate the energy created by people working together. I am a little bit tempted just by being there to revert to "old school", maybe just one kick to a heavy bag or something. However, my "charter" so to speak, is to focus my practice on Aikido, and that means giving up the old stuff for now.

We reviewed some of the techniques the yudansha (black belt) guys practiced at a weekend seminar in Charlotte. One of the techniques was an arm bar adapted from jujitsu--we did it as a stretch, which is nice for early in the AM.

The only bad part about CH TKD is that the mat material is a bit sticky, so you risk twisting and ankle or knee. It's not as bad as the wrestling mat I used to have to train on in Chicago, to which I owe a permanent ankle injury--it still pops to this day, though fortunately not painfully.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Years ago I took a few guitar courses with Robert Fripp. He has a thing for aphorisms. One that comes to mind now (paraphrased): we may not be equal in ability, but we may be equal in aspiration.

Sometimes I feel like I'm moving "backward" in my progress, as if I'm forgetting things I already know, or making new mistakes that I haven't made before. I had this feeling in last night's class--I screwed up basic movements that I already know well. I need to remember how I used to feel about my students when I am being harsh with myself.

I was glad to meet new beginners last night. New blood is the life of a dojo.

We also had an ukemi (falling) class with Mike. I am very glad to have this opportunity, as ukemi is Mike's specialty. Mike is also our editor for the upcoming (it's been upcoming for a year, but it's still upcoming) music video. I am reviving this project as a group social activity after class, hopefully at the Mex restaurant next door. Unfortunately, it looks like we will be doing it Weds evenings for now, which means I won't be going to Josh's class on Weds AM for a while.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Practicing Sleepy

Yesterday AM is normally a workout time for me, but .. zzz. I just needed a break. My elbow has been a little funny, not that it would keep me off the mat, but heck, any excuse will do right?

They changed Wednesday AM class to 6:30 *AM*. Yikes!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Practicing Peace

I normally don't get "preachy", but sometimes something must be said.

Aikido is sometimes called "the art of peace". There is no competition in Aikido.
The emphasis is on creating harmony between "uke" (attacker) and "nage" (defender). You could say we are practicing a way of bringing peace into our lives. In time, the peace we feel in the dojo pervades other areas of our lives.

Having come from a background in "hard style" martial arts and trained with a lot of different schools, there are some obvious differences. In many schools, there are macho egotistical types, very competitive, and sometimes even violent in their lives outside of training.
Now, almost all senseis discourage this sort of thing, but my point is that our training affects everything we do: the way we deal with friends and family, how we approach conflict, how we think of ourselves, and literally every interaction with another person.

Peace must be practiced, as it is not human nature to be peaceful. Violence has been a part of human history from the beginning. In order to move beyond conflict we all need to practice what makes us peaceful.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

El Maximum Dojo!

Our dojo is so awesome! Sure I'm biased, but I have had so many classes where I am just blown away by how good our sempai (senior students) are. I was privileged to be the "junior" student in tonight's advanced class. High points: I managed to do a pretty decent rendition of suwari waza (seated techniques from kneeling position)--ikkyo, nikkyo, sankyo, yonkyo. .. and of course, there were the not so high points. I always have difficulty with ju waza (freestyle). Tonight we had 4 on 1, and I sort of lost it a few times. So this is my "frontier". I also got a bit too winded working with Mike. I need to retire so I can workout more!

I also made Saturday AM class, though I did not get around to blogging.

BTW, I "got memed", or I'm about to get memed. If you don't know what I'm talking about, people send around these lists-o-questions and you're supposed to blog about them or something. Hi ALa.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

No Workout :-(

This week has been a bad one schedulewise for my training. Morning classes are currently on hold, and my evening schedule has been not behaving.